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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Breakthrough in Boston

Last weekend I got to travel to Boston. I stayed with two sweet friends, Bree & Kasidy. About a month ago I felt like Jesus was speaking for me to visit Boston. In a few weeks time He provided money for the trip and an incredible plane ticket price. I bought my ticket the day before the trip and boarded the plane. Although I didn't get to sleep the night before and got motion sickness on the plane, I finally made it to Boston. Praise God.

There was such a breakthrough this weekend! The webster dictionary defines breakthrough as:

  1. A sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development
  2. A significant and dramatic overcoming of a perceived obstacle, allowing the completion of a process.

Experienced the revelation that I can walk in obedience rather than expectation. The Kingdom of God doesn't consist of 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts' but in hearing God and obeying. There is such a sweet confidence in knowing following Jesus is so simple. Just listening to God and doing what He says. There's no expectations or comparison standard we have to measure up to, just His voice!

Another great thing about breakthrough, is that it's just for one, but many! Breakthrough inevitably spills out into other areas of our life and other people we come into contact with. This breakthrough got to become someone else's because Jesus is after families, cities & nations! Last night we had a worship night in Lawrence and breakthrough broke out over the whole room. Can't wait to share more. (I'll be sending an e-mail update out soon) Reminded that Jesus is after this whole city and uses what he starts in one to overflow into and encounter others. Thankful for Jesus moving in my family, city & nation. He is worthy of it all.

Here are some pictures from my trip to Boston.

Sidenote: I heard once that the color orange is a prophetic symbol for breakthrough. Thank you Jesus for fall  and changing trees!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Hero Revolution: Julie Steadman

Last semester I was privileged to spend time with Julie Steadman who has been a friend, teacher & spiritual mother to me. After moving to Kansas again, I was so thankful she reached out to me in the midst of a different  & difficult season. I have felt so known, loved and supported by this woman. I've also learned volumes from her.

Julie displays the kindness of God and is so gentle. She comforts others quickly and tenderly yet speaks powerful wisdom and truth. I feel so at home when around her. Thankful for the mother's heart she carries and how she draws people into the heart of God. She is quick to adopt others into her life and family and has spoken sweet identity over me. God knows the deep ways her investment in my life has marked me!

Also, I'm honored to be a part of the legacy she's leaving. She has sought God's heart for this place and these people and has invested in many. Excited to come behind her and continue to press-in for what God has for Lawrence. I really feel the ground is so tender and ripe for harvest because of the many who have plowed before me, some for a long time. I am honored to step into what other's have sowed.

Here's to Julie and the powerful legacy and impact she is leaving on this city!

World Mandate 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get Your Gatsby On (Roaring 20's Loveshack Style)

I live in a house with 8 girls. That means that there is constantly people around, something to do and fun to be had. I absolutely love living here (at the Loveshack). Praise God I'm an extrovert - because if not our house may be a little overwhelming. :) Six of the girls lived in the house last year and I was privileged to step into the culture/atmosphere they have created. It is so refreshing to live with girls who are in the same season of life as me. Here's to an epic, fun and adventurous senior year!

One thing this house is really good at is throwing parties. A couple weekends ago we hosted a 1920's party. The front lawn was transformed into a Gatsby Garden scene with porch lights, mocktails, swing dancing, and even a live band. Most of our attendees dressed for the occasion, which made the party look like a scene straight from the book. Anyone that knows me knows that I love themes - especially when I can go all-out. This party was no exception.

Because the party was mostly set up outside people walking by our house saw and joined in. Our house is two blocks from campus, so we're used to a lot of traffic. Some were so intrigued that they came in and chatted for a while. We had several visitors that probably wouldn't of otherwise come to our house.

Below are some photos my roommate Kaley (who's an incredible photographer, by the way) took of the party. Hopefully this gives you a little taste of my life in Lawrence this semester.

The roomies. Please notice Bitti on the far left. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

To Obey is Better

Recently, I've been reminded of the value obedience. I was spending time with Jesus the other morning and felt the Lord tell me to turn to 1 Samuel chapter 15. I started reading and the chapter is about Saul being annointed as King. Samuel annoints him then gives him his first command from the Lord: to destroy Amalekites. He was told to not take anything for himself and to kill every person living among the Amalekites. Rather than obeying completely, Saul chose not to kill the king and take some of the animals for himself. Partial obedience isn't obedience. It's actually disobedience.

The Lord was not pleased. He sends Samuel to confront Saul and Saul tries to make exscuses. He claims that he took the animals so that he could sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel's reponse hit me: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, TO OBEY IS BETTER than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams" (verse 22). Yes! Obedience is better because I know that Jesus is for me and has the best for my life. So can obey confidently knowing that He takes care of me and has His church and my interests at heart.

I started reading again to see where Saul went wrong. Samuel says to him in verse 17 "Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord annointed you king over Israel." Saul didn't know his true identity and didn't walk in the royality and authority God had given him. When we believe lies we shrink back from obedience. But when we walk in the authority of who God says we are, we obey easier. When we know Who's we are, we can obey without hesitance or fear.

I also noticed that in verse 24 Saul says "because I feared the people, I obeyed their voice." Saul gave into fear rather than walking in his authority. When fear invades our lives, it clouds our judgement causing us to disobey when boldness is required. 1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." When we have an encounter with the love of God fear is removed. When our eyes are on Jesus who is all-loving, we are able to walk without fear. Stare at Jesus - it's really that simple!

I'm convinced that when we live in the reality of the love of God, we will obey more naturally. Because the more we know His character, the easier and more natural it is to obey. I'm also convinced that obedience is better - no matter the size of the task or step. When we disobey it ends in conviction and then repentance. But when we obey it ends in faithfulness, character development and more authority/responsibility. And when we obey in the small things, it's easier to obey in the big things. Stare at Jesus, receive the love of God and then obey even in the little things, ready to follow what He says when He says it. TO OBEY IS BETTER.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Hero Revolution: Lauren Allbritton

Today I want to honor and encourage another person in my life: Lauren Allbritton. When I first arrived at Baylor University as a freshman I was hungry for community and more of God. I went to a lifegroup my first week of school and was amazed by a community of people that loved Jesus passionately, had so much fun and were so open and vulnerable with each other. I kept going and eventually called the members of that group my best friends. About a month into the school year Lauren approached me and asked if I wanted to be discipled. I said yes immediately, honored that she would ask. Over the next two and a half years, Lauren faithfully invested in my life and is now one of my best friends.

Let me tell you a little more about Lauren. Lauren loves people so well. She pays attention to the details, asks good questions and remembers the answers! One time she had me write a list of all my favorite things, then over the next few months she surprised me with little gifts. I always feel so loved and valued by her. She taught me that loving people is more than spending time with them, it's putting others before yourself, meeting their needs and actively listening and responding. It's being willing to go to the hard places, work through conflict and then supporting and encouraging. It's having the attitude of how can I serve this person, rather than what can this person give me.

I don't think I've ever felt judged by Lauren, not once. She is so for those around her and nothing anyone says phases her. I remember several discipleship meetings where I had to confess pretty deep stuff, and she loved me through it without judging or condemning. She is able to love without condition, which makes her a safe, valuable friend. She has a way of communicating her own convictions and decisions without raising expectations. She supports rather than pressures. Because of that, my life has been radically changed because of her commitment to purity and holiness. People are attracted to the way she lives her life because she LOVES Jesus and believes that those who are pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). This woman isn't afraid to let go of things in order to get more of God.

I'm forever thankful for you, Lauren! Your investment in my life changed me in so many ways. You are GOLD, my friend.

Lauren and I the end of my freshmen year.
Photos by Jeff Jones

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jumping on Board "The Hero Revolution"

This morning I had to work the 3-7am shift. And after today I don't think I'll ever sign up for that shift again. BUT, I did get to catch up on some pod-casts I've been wanting to listen to. One of the pod-casts I listened to was Carl Gulley's message "Hero Revolution" recorded on May 13th of this year. You can find this sermon here. I'm a little late jumping on the revolution train, but it was still powerful 3 months later! If you haven't listened to it yet, do it!

As I sat at the Corbin desk at 4am this morning I was so stirred by the spirit of God. I love that when we honor people it draws His presence. Through tears I listened to the end of that message and started thinking of people in my life that have inspired me. People who are every-day heroes, doing the small things consistently. People that have chosen to put others before themselves and change the world through love and obedience to Jesus.

The first several people that popped into my head were the women who have invested in my life. I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to take the new few blog entries to honor those who have discipled, sharpened, challenged and changed my life. I am forever thankful for their influence in my life and each one has marked me in a different way. Today I want to start with Jennifer Shively, my mentor and leader in high school who to this day is one of my dearest friends.

Jen has modeled how to submit to her husband and honor him through every circumstance. Not only that, but I've also gotten to see her honor her parents, friends and co-leaders. Watching her honor rather than criticize has changed my life. What a privilege it has been to see the fruit of honoring others in her life! She chooses to go low in order to lift others up. She makes a way for others rather than trying to make a name for herself. By choosing to put others above herself she empowers and supports those around her. I want to be like that!

Additionally, the way Jen loves her kids and lays her life down for people astounds me. She contends for her children's destinies and callings daily through prayer and life-on-life investment. On a practical level, this means she stops taking phone calls at 3pm when her kids get home so she can be fully present and enjoy time with them. But she doesn't stop with her family. She truly loves the person in front of her like Jesus does! She gives generously and loves extravagantly. Rather than dismissing another person's need, she helps meet them, even when it means calling on the community to help. This woman knows how to love. And I am forever challenged by this!

Jen, you are my hero. I love you and value you and am so thankful for your investment in my life. You deserve to be honored.

Jen and I my senior year of high school (2009). 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Simple Kingdom

I believe that Jesus oftentimes calls us to spend time or be intentional with people that are different than us so that we can begin to see people as He sees them. Over the past 5 weeks I was privileged to work at Kids Across America, a Christian sports camp for urban kids. I am so thankful for such a hard but valuable experience. A theme in my life has been transferring to new places and finding contentment even out of my element. But praise God in every new place He's the same... and so are His people. We each have a natural inclination towards people that are like us. However, Jesus spent his time with people that were very different than Him most of the time. The Kingdom isn't about building a community of people just like us, but building a community of diverse people with diverse gifts so that others may be reached for the gospel! And one of my favorite things about the Kingdom of God is that it's reproducible! The same values can exist and flourish in different cultures and places.

Jesus boils down all the commandments to two in Mark 12:30-31. He says "And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these" (amp). There is no condition to Jesus' command to love others. The Kingdom is simple: love Jesus and love the person in front of you.

And when our agenda is those two things, life is simple. When we love Jesus we do what He says. John 14:15 says "If you love me, you will keep my commands." And when we love people we lay our life down for them. In John 21:16 Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. Peter responds yes and Jesus says "then tend my sheep". Thus my goal this year is to love Jesus and others well, believing that the city of Lawrence will be changed through the living out of the greatest two commandments. It really is a simple Kingdom.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth FTW

As many of you know, the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. My family goes to our lake house and it's always one of the highlights of my year. I love to celebrate. And I love tradition. Praise God my fam knows how to celebrate, especially the 4th of July. Each year several families come with us and we tube, ski, light hundreds of dollars of fireworks and eat the best food. It's also completely appropriate to wear red, white & blue with stars and stripes. Since the majority of my wardrobe consists of these things, I wasn't lacking in the least.

This year three of my friends got to come with me to celebrate! First, my friend Bethany came who is one of my sweetest friends. She encourages and challenges me so well. My friend Thomas came as well. We led lifegroup together for a year and he is one of the most refreshing people I know. Next my friend Jeff came. I have Jeff to thank for several things - including my introduction to Justin Bieber (you should really check out his new album by the way; it's gold). But really, Jeff is so fun, adventurous and sets the culture wherever he goes! I loved every moment with these friends! We laughed a ton. This week has been the highlight of my summer. Below are several pictures from the trip!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Greg!

Today my little bro turns 19! I'm so thankful for my brother, Greg! He is a man of God who is going to change the world! I thought I'd take some time to recall some of my fav memories with Greg and tell you a little about him.

Greg is an incredible leader. People follow him because He is a gatherer, influencer & great communicator. He has the mark of leadership on his life. I have loved getting to see him lead others, especially my sister and those at his school.

He also is a protector & watches out for others. Last year I got a phone call from Greg during my spring break mission trip. He called and was so worried about my sister. He calmly asked for advice in how to protect and honor her well. He asked me to pray for him and said he was committed to standing up for our little sister and handled the situation with such integrity and grace. I was so impressed by his mature heart. What's cool is that Greg's name means watchman. He is called to watch and protect others and lead them towards Jesus!

One of my favorite things about Greg is that he is super goofy & charasmatic. He consistently makes others laugh and is such the life of the party! He's the kind of guy everybody wants to be around. He is known by people and has the respect of many. I'm so honored to be his sister! Can't wait to see you next week, Greg!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Power of Words on Father's Day

Over the past few days I've been reminded of the power of words. With my mouth I have the power to bless and curse others. We hold words of life and death in our tongue. In James 3, it says that our tongue directs our whole body, and that it has the power to destruct our whole body if we do not control it. Although this is a dangerous powerful tool, it can also be used to bless and encourage others. When we choose to speak negatively about another person we are actually speaking words of death over them. But if we choose to encourage and build up, then we are speaking life. Also, by encouraging others you are actually calling them up to their identity.

Ephesians 4:29 says "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as it fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." My mom made my siblings and I memorize this verse when we were younger to teach us the power of our words.

Since yesterday was Father's Day, I thought I'd take some time to tell you about my Dad and speak words of life over him. My Dad is one of the most selfless people I know. He consistently looks out for other's interests before his own. (see Philippians 2:2-4). He is always looking for ways to serve our family. And he does so without complaining or calling attention to himself. What a picture of the way Jesus serves! I am so challenged by this.

My Dad is quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (see James 1:19). He weighs the value of his words before he speaks and is so patient with others. He is so consistent and steady. He is not swayed by his emotions or circumstances. Because of that, he is trustworthy and safe!

My Dad also takes care of our family so well. He is responsible and loyal. He pays attention to the details and doesn't overlook things. He is so faithful to the tasks God has given him. He is also so faithful to our family. Dad, I'm so thankful for you today! Thank you for serving and taking care of us well! You are purposeful, simple, and powerful. And you guard/protect others well because you know the value in them! I love you!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Foreign Ambassadors

Over the last two weeks I've been resonating with the idea of being a foreigner and ambassador. When most people think of basic Kingdom identity, the words alien and ambassador do not often come to mind. However both of these words are biblical truths we must learn to adopt as sons or daughters of God. 

Last week I ended staff training at KAA. While I was there the Lord initiated a new process in my heart encompassing these truths. When I first arrived I was honestly a little anxious. There was part of me that felt so exhausted after being in a new place this semester (at KU) and having to build new friendships & relationships. I wasn't looking forward to having to build in a new place again. As I was spending time with God one morning I was reminded of different men & women in scripture who were called to 'foreign' places. For example, Abraham was called to leave his home and travel to a new land. Hebrews 11:8-9 says "by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called out to go to a place that he was to receive an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith, he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land..." Abraham blindly followed the voice of God and became a foreigner in a new land. 

Later in Hebrews 11 it says they (those who received the promise) "acknowledged that they were strangers & exiles on the earth" and knew they were "seeking a homeland" because they longed for "a better country, that is, a heavenly one". It struck me that the reason why they were called exiles or foreigners on earth was because they believed they were citizens of a different country: Heaven. And if I was made by God, then my home is with Him, not on earth. Philippians 3:20 says that we are citizens of Heaven. I'm not a citizen of Wichita, of Lawrence or of Waco, Texas. Those places are not my home. The people in those places are not my home. In the presence of God is my home. I have to detach my idea of home from a physical place or person, otherwise my safety, comfort and identity is found in places other than Jesus. 

We are called to total immersion with distinction. I am a resident of the world, but not a native of it. I am a stranger or foreigner who belongs to something so much bigger than this earth. However, I am not a foreigner without a purpose. I'm also an ambassador. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says "we are ambassadors for Christ". An ambassador was never a native or member of the land in which he dwelt. He was a visitor who represented the King of leader of his native land. This means I have a unique purpose and assignment. I have the privilege of representing my King. So wherever He says to go, I will gladly go, knowing I get to help make my King's name known. Even if I'm called to new places all over again, it's worth it. Because this isn't my home; Heaven is. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday Miss

For those of you who didn't know, I just got back from staff training for 10 days at KAA (Kids Across America). I'm sure I'll be writing about what God's been doing in my heart soon. However, while I was gone my sweet little sis turned 16! I didn't have access to a computer on her actual birthday, so I thought I'd post a belated entry. I hope to give you a picture into what life with Gwen looks like. She is one of my absolute favorite people.

I started calling Gwen 'Missy' or 'Miss' when I was little and the nickname has stuck ever since. The name suits her. There's no one else that makes me laugh as much as this girl. She's totally sassy and so hilarious. Almost every time we spend time together we reach the almost-pee-your-pants point. (Sometimes we go past that point, but I won't include details). Some of my favorite memories are with Gwen. She is simply a joy to be around. Recently I've felt so refreshed being with her. Whether we're laying out by the pool, or laughing in our rooms or riding in the car, I can always expect our time to be a blast.

One of my favorite things about Gwen is that she is quick to forgive and extend grace to others. She truly believes the best about others and gives people the benefit of the doubt. When hurt or offended, she chooses to forgive rather than stay bitter or resentful. I am so challenged by this! She is also incredibly loyal. Miss is a trustworthy friend who sticks close to those she loves.

She is also able to relate to so many different types of people. She is quick to befriend others, regardless of who they are. She is not judgmental, but accepting and willing to receive. I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 when I think of her. Like Paul, she is able to "become all things to all people". What a gift!

Gwen is a leader and a trend-setter. She is funny & easy to please. I am so thankful for Gwen and the blessing she is in my life. I love you Miss and happy belated birthday!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Reality of Slavery

This morning as I was laying out by the pool spending time with Jesus, I was surprised by this verse. Exodus 6:9 says "Moses spoke to the people of Israel, but they did not listen because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery." I thought how many times have I not listened because of a broken spirit and slave mentality? And it made me think of all the people that I've prayed and believed for that haven't changed or listened because of a broken spirit and slave mentality. This verse changed the way I pray for people in one moment. Rather than praying for specific behavior changes, I should be praying for their broken spirit to be restored and for a transfer from a slave mentality to son or daughter identity. This has to happen before we can listen to God and obey what He says. So much of our walk with God starts with believing the truth. 

I thought back to my own story before I started following Jesus. My freshmen and sophomore year of high school I lived under a broken spirit and slave mentality. Because I did not know how to receive love from the Father, nor did I know who Jesus said I was, I was broken. I tried to find my identity and self-worth in what others thought of me. This led to many bad decisions and compromises. I felt as though I were under the expectations and opinions of others. I attempted to conform my words, clothing choices, musical preferences and behavior to what I believed others would accept. I lived as if I were a slave to sin, rather than a slave of righteousness. But it was all false. I wasn't under other's expectations. Only under His truth. I just didn't believe it yet. 

Romans 6:16-18, 22 says "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life."

When I gave my life to Jesus and committed to following Him the summer of 2007, I became a slave to righteousness, rather than sin. I am so thankful that Jesus rescued me from a broken sinful place and set me free! Now I get to take part in the process of sanctification and can look forward to spending eternity with my Rescuer and Father. Choosing Jesus was the best decision I've ever made. And although believing the truth has been a process, it has slowly changed me. It started with reading His Word and memorizing it, so that I wouldn't forget the truth. I hope this challenges you to either start believing the truth or to pray for someone who needs to. Let us become slaves of righteousness, who live in the reality of our son or daughter identity rather than the harsh & false reality of slavery. You were made for more than that. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Higher Things

I've been struck over and over again by this verse in scripture. Paul says "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Paul pretty clearly defines what our thoughts should be about. Colossians 3:2 says "And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth." As followers of Jesus we're called to keep our minds and thoughts on the higher things, on the things above. Not on earthly distractions. We're made for the higher things. So that's where our minds and hearts should be focused.

This morning when I was spending time with Jesus, I felt prompted to look up the definition of each of the words Paul uses in Philippians 4:8. Here is the list of definitions I found:

true: in accordance with fact or reality
honorable: deserving or winning honor or respect; beyond reproach, blameless
just: based on what is morally right and fair
pure: not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material; free from dirt or taint; clean
lovely: exquisitely beautiful; inspiring love or affection
commendable: deserving praise; represented as worthy, qualified or desirable
excellent: extremely good; of the highest or finest quality
praiseworthy: deserving approval and admiration

Each of these words points to the higher things. Things higher than ourselves. For we have the honor and privilege of giving ourselves to something bigger than us: the Kingdom of God. Our thoughts belong in the higher places. For if we keep them on earthly things, it inhibits us from dwelling on and in the higher things.

Did you know you were made for the higher things? You were made to be in relationship with the God of the universe, who is ABOVE ALL THINGS! You belong to a God who values you. When we catch a hold of our identity then it prompts us to look above rather than below. It shifts our gaze from downward on ourselves to upward on Jesus. So let us be people who dwell on the higher things. Because that's what we were made for. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In Honor of My Mom

Although my mom doesn't need a holiday for me to tell her how great she is, I thought today seemed appropriate to post about her. If you don't know my mom I hope this gives you a glimpse of who she is. If you do, well, maybe you'll learn something new.

First off, my mom has one of the most incredible stories. Hearing her talk of Jesus' redemption has changed my life. I am reminded of Psalm 40:2 when I think of her testimony. It says "He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure." Although she came from a broken place, she responded to Jesus and was saved by such sweet grace! Because of her decision to follow Jesus, she has paved the way for our whole family to walk in a new heritage. A heritage of freedom and grace. What a blessing to come after such a woman!

My mom is the best planner I know. She is able to see the big picture and plan accordingly. She is organized, thorough and always one to check all the options before making a decision. This enables her to make submitted decisions that impact her and those around her in the best ways. I have felt so covered by my mom as she has helped me through so many processes. She has taught me to weigh the consequences and benefits before moving forward. Because of her I have learned how to exercise discernment in decision making.

My mom is also one of the best communicators I know. She was a speech teacher for several years and taught me most of what I know about communicating. How appropriate that I'm now a communications major. Some of my favorite memories with my mom were when she homeschooled me in middle school and coached me in forensics & debate. It was during that time that I realized that she is always 100% behind me and for me. I'm thankful for ways she taught me how to communicate and walk in confidence! 

My mom is so good at taking care of people. My mom pays attention to the little details, but she also empowers people to do things on their own. Because she knows life doesn't depend on her, she is good at equipping people with tools to succeed and practical ways to walk out in their gifts. She knows the balance between taking care of me and teaching me to do things myself. Thank you mom for teaching me well.

She's also really good at what she does. She recently accepted a position as director of a local nonprofit! Check out their home page here.

Mom, I hope you feel honored today! I love you. (And thanks for being one of my 3 blog followers. :))

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Ultimate Host

Last night my roommate Lindie and I hosted a finals study break party. I love hosting parties and everything that comes along with it. I love baking. I love decorating. I love dressing up. Preparing for our breakfast-for-dinner party was by far the most refreshing part of my week. 

I'm convinced Jesus is the best host. He did, afterall, leave to go and prepare a place for us. John 14:2-4 says "My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

I can't even imagine what kind of place Jesus is preparing right now. He must be so excited for His guests to arrive! If I get this excited for a party to happen, imagine how much Jesus gets excited for His cherished ones to enter in and see what He's prepared. It will be nothing short of absolute glory. He knows us so intimately and prepares the details to perfection so that we will be in absolute awe of what He's created. Oh my heart is longing to be in that place today! To spend eternity in the place He's prepared. What an honor and privilege.

Thus, we get to tap into His heart when we host things! The small satisfaction I receive from hosting people is but a glimpse to the joy & anticipation Jesus must have. Below are a few pictures my roommate took of the night. (They're from an iphone, so don't mind the quality). We wanted to end the year in thankfulness, so we each shared things we thankful for and pinned them up!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Things I'm enjoying at the moment/am thankful for:

1. This album. I've felt so refreshed listening to this music.
2. my front porch. God knows how many hours I've spent out here. It has become one of my fav places to be.
3. pink peonies.
4. dark chocolate.
5. hammocks. I could spend all day in one of these.
6. coffee, especially with white chocolate mocha creamer. I'm on my 3rd cup of the day.
7. sleeping in.
8. the Word of God. We have the privilege of sitting with the author as we read it.
9. nail polish, especially Pink Flamenco by OPI.
10. This book. I can only read chunks at a time, because I want to digest it all, but it's SO GOOD.

Peonies from my front yard.
Hammocking in the park.
Drinking coffee on the porch.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Reasons Behind the Risk

For some of you this may be repetitive, but for others it may be new. Several people have asked me about my move to Lawrence this year and thought I'd take some time to explain it. (Although this isn't the whole story, it will hopefully give you an idea of why I'm here). Let me preface this post by saying this semester has been one of the most unexpected, adventurous, fun, fast-paced & deep seasons. I honestly don't want to be anywhere else but right in the middle of the will of God. And there's something so sweet, peaceful & intimate about knowing you are in that place.

Last September I visited Lawrence to stay with my friend, Missy Patterson. Friendship with Missy has been such a joy over the past 3 years. It was sort of unexpected and definitely surprising, but so sweet and so good. We met at church camp and the Lord gave us grace to go deep in friendship rather quickly. I was so excited to visit Missy for a second time. She told me about new ways God was moving in Lawrence and I was honored to get to see a glimpse of it. I left feeling encouraged and excited. I had no idea I would be calling Lawrence my home in just a few short months.

In October my parents and I started talking about the possibility of transferring schools. This had never occurred to me and the thought was sad and even scary. I absolutely loved being at Baylor. [My life has been radically changed by the community & kingdom culture I was brought into. What a sweet 2 and a half years I got to spend in Waco.] Although I cried at the thought of leaving, I started asking the Lord if he wanted me to transfer. I sent in my application to KU and received my acceptance letter a few weeks later.

Upon receiving that letter, Jesus reminded me several things. He called me to pray for the city of Lawrence my freshmen year of college. Those prayers were invested and not forgotten. And now I was invited to join the move of God happening in the place my heart had prayed for. What a joy and honor! Jesus is so faithful to the dreams he places in our hearts, even if we don't remember them or know what they are for.

I started the process of moving and realized something new about myself. I am a pre-mourner. In anticipation of a new change or event I typically mourn before the change happens. This allowed me to move from sadness to excitement in perfect timing. I started asking God what promises He had for me in Lawrence and for specific things to be praying for. I was blown away by the words of life & encouragement the He gave me.

Thus I decided to transfer. I wasn't obligated or forced. But invited. The Creator asked me to risk with Him and promised to take care of my every step. I had no idea what to expect, but Jesus went before me. All my credits from Baylor transferred and I found a place to live with the sweetest roommates. Everything fell into place so smoothly and I was amazed at how Jesus provides for me so well. He truly does work every detail for our good.

Now that I have been here for a semester, I can confidently say this has been the most intimate season with Jesus I've ever had. He brought me to a place where I had to depend on Him. And it has been so worth it. I am truly thriving in this place and meeting Jesus in ways I never have before.

John 15:15-16 says "No longer I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you."

This truth has deeply changed & encouraged me. I have learned more of what friendship with Jesus looks like. He chooses to use me and invites me to use the gifts He's given me to further His kingdom. He has made known to me His vision and promises for this place and I love partnering with Him. What an honor to be on this adventure with my King.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thoughts on Gifts & Humility

James 1:17 says every good & perfect gift comes from above. Did you catch that? EVERY good gift comes from above. That means that everything good that we have or are comes from Jesus. So, the pretty sunlight coming in through my windows this morning was from Jesus. And so was the pink nail polish I found in my backpack. Even my ability to speak and listen is from Jesus. This changes things. When I truly believe that every good gift is from God then it changes the way I live my life. It creates thankfulness and dependency. Because without Jesus I am nothing.

I was recently encouraged by a conversation with Julie Steadman. I've had the privilege and honor of meeting with her this semester for discipleship. Ahhh what a delight! I've learned so much from this woman. This past Monday we talked about humility and recognizing that Jesus gives all things. Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but more of God. It's recognizing that it's God that makes things happen; not me plus God. And it's realizing that everything good that we have comes straight from Him.

I've been reading Exodus in my time with God over the past week and was struck by these verses:"The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (chapter 4 verses 11-12). Even our simple abilities to see, speak and hear are from God. So I can take credit for nothing. But rather than dwelling on my brokenness and insufficiency, instead this should point me to Jesus in thankfulness. Humility isn't making the most of our brokenness, but making the most of his capability. Wow, thank you God for giving me the ability to speak and for the spiritual & earthly gifts You have given me! He is truly good.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Firsts of Spring 2012

I love the first day of each month. I also love writing the date. I'm partial to lower numbers, so I love when the numbers start in the single digits again. Needless to say, I'm very excited that it's May 1st. What a sweet day it has been. I woke up this morning expectant and felt like the Lord told me to spend time with Him outside. I was greeted by pink peonies blooming in our front yard and proceeded to cut a few to put in our kitchen. (Flowers are my fav). As we enter the month of May many things are coming to a close: school, leases, finals, ect. But instead of reminding you all that we're close to the end, I thought I'd write about the many firsts I had this year.

1. I moved to Lawrence. That's a first.
2. I ran a half marathon. Whew, that was def a first.
3. I lived in my own room. (Which I actually enjoyed a lot).
4. I turned 21.
5. Thanks to the sweet & persistent Laura Stafford, I made my bed (almost) every morning without being asked.
6. I subscribed to a magazine. (Actually, my Dad used his frequent flyer miles to buy me a subscription to Time. I've been up on the news for the first time ev.)
7. I tried goat cheese ice-cream. Surprisingly good. I'd recommend it.
8. I went to a fish-fry.
9. My most frequent study spot was a grocery store.
10. I was 100% surprised for the first time in my life when my dear friend Bethany flew to Kansas for my birthday. I HAD NO CLUE. (Usually I have some sort of idea that something is going on).
11. I purchased and wore my first pair of Birkenstock sandals. Totes worth the investment.
12. I slept in a hammock.
13. Starbucks and I became real good friends.
14. I lived walking distance from Urban Outfitters. Supes dangerous.
15. I enjoyed doing school & homework.
16. I went to St. Louis.
17. I only made 2 music videos all semester. (Wish you were closer Lo Bear & Megs)
18. I wore top knots.
19. My new favorite color is orange. (Not the obnoxious construction color orange, but the neon-ish tangerine-y shade).
20. I got bangs. (This actually isn't a first, but the last two times I got bangs turned out to be disastrous mistakes. Just look at my Driver's License. Thus, this was the first time the bangs actually worked).
21. Speaking of driver's licenses, I'm currently driving with an expired one. Whoops.
22. I actually enjoyed & got into sports. What a year KU basketball! I'd say I'm a fan now. (Sorry, Dad).
23. Last weekend I got to take pictures of my little sis at her 1st prom! Can't believe she's that old!
24. I did my laundry just about weekly. That's a first.
25. I drank margaritas with my parents. SO WEIRD.
26. I never took off my watch all semester long. (Got a sweet tan line too).
27. I'm going to work at Kanakuk this summer.
28. I purchased and wore fake glasses.
29. I became the co-owner of a bed & breakfast (without the breakfast)... AKA The Loft. (We still got another few weeks here if ya want to stay!)
30. I was featured in the local newspaper. It wasn't really that exciting, but my picture and quote appeared!

I hope you enjoy the last few hours of May 1st!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Eyes Open to See His Kindness

This morning I remembered a prayer my old roommate and dear friend Laura Stafford and I prayed last August. Laura is one of my closet friends that challenges me and consistently encourages me to fix my eyes on Jesus, not myself, others or circumstances. She models this well. She asked if we could make a list of things to pray to hang in our bathroom. One of the first items on the list was to pray for God to open our eyes to see His kindness. We hung it visibly so that every time we went to the bathroom, we could look at the list and pray. I mean, everybody goes to the bathroom, so why not pray while you're doing it? Today I am blown away by the fruit of that simple prayer. Jesus has opened my eyes wide to see His kindness and I am amazed, humbled, honored and thankful all at once. 

Over the past few months, Jesus has been speaking sweet identity over me. One morning I heard Him say to be attentive to His affection. My heart has been in a really raw, vulnerable place with the Lord recently and I've entered into a sweet healing process with Him. And I have been radically changed by His kindness. He pays attention to every part of my heart. He is tender, sweet and gentle. He knows which coffee cup I love drinking out of in the morning. He knows that I love wearing stripes. He knows which shirt is my favorite. He knows that I love to make music videos. He knows which songs I listen to on repeat. He knows that I love wearing things in my hair. He knows the simplest details. Because He's attentive. Rather than thinking something is a coincidence, instead thank Jesus for it, believing He is just sweetly pursuing you and showing you His kindness. 

On Wednesday mornings I get together to pray with my sweet friends, Lindie & Carrie. This morning we all prayed to see His kindness. I also brought a request before the group. I have been asking the Lord for provision for this summer and for plans to fall into place. I am working at a camp in July but needed income for the first half of the summer plus am really believing for a month of refreshment. (Sidenote: the themes for camp this summer are holiday , which I'll obvi sport 4th of July apparel, and New Years, which is an excellent chance to bring out the glitter - two of my favorite things! Jesus so knew.) I have been asking the Lord for provision and for an opportunity to be refreshed/refueled. 

This afternoon I received an e-mail with a job offer that pays above and beyond what I could of asked for. Plus the job is only for 2 weeks and will be done before I leave to go to Wichita for my brother's graduation. Jesus provided the perfect job in the perfect time frame that pays abundantly more than I needed! Although I'm not exactly sure what I'll be doing in June, I am confident that Jesus has refreshment for me! I was reminded of that prayer I prayed last semester and am blown away by the way Jesus has been answering that each day! He is truly opening my eyes to see His kindness. 

In Luke 12 Jesus says do not worry about where you're going to get your needs met, because "your father needs you need them. Instead, seek His Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." Let us seek Jesus and trust that it's His delight to give abundantly. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lo Bear & Megs Come to Lawrence

This weekend I had the pleasure of hosting my dear friends, Lauren Davis and Megan Shipley. Lauren has known me my whole life and we have walked through almost every season together until I transferred to KU. I met Megan my freshmen year of college and we've been friends ever since. These two know me so well. I feel so refreshed being around them! I have way too much fun with these girls. This weekend was the most fun, yet refreshing, but out of control weekend I've had all year! 

Once again I am amazed that Jesus knows what I need! He knows me better than I know myself and loves to provide for my every need. Over the past few weeks I have been needing refreshment and time to just release and have fun. Praise God that's exactly what He had for me last weekend! I couldn't help but laugh with the Lord this morning thinking about His sweet goodness in allowing these two friends to visit. I feel like when you are around people that know you really well it releases you to be vulnerable, silly and even a little out of control. :) 

When we risk with God he provides opportunities for us to be refreshed. It doesn't depend on us, so He calls us to rely on His strength while trusting He'll provide a way for us to keep saying yes. Man, that's huge revelation I've gotten this year. IT DOESN'T DEPEND ON ME. Praise God! Jesus is the one that holds all things together. NOT ME. Thus, risking with God requires trust in a God who faithfully meets every single one of our needs. 

Phillipians 4:19 says "And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Believe in His provision. Even the simple things. Like refreshment & fun. 

(Megan took these pictures this weekend. Check out Megan's Blog!)

Proverbs 11:25 says "whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." Thanks Megs and Lo Bear for refreshing me this weekend! Believing Jesus has refreshment for you as well!

Also, if you haven't checked out our  "Call Me Maybe" video, don't miss out!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Celebrating Friendship

Yesterday was my sweet friend, Emily Burge's birthday. So honored to know her! My life in Lawrence would be drastically different if I hadn't of met Emily! 
This girl loves Jesus. One of the most intentional, vulnerable, covering people I know. She encourages others and loves people out of compassion. She has one of the sweetest mothering hearts. 

So here's to Emily - she is so worth celebrating! 

As I reflect on her friendship, I am reminded of the kindness of God in my life. Since transferring to KU in January, I have been amazed at the ways Jesus has provided for me. He has gone before me in every way! Although one of the hardest parts of leaving Waco was moving far from friends, I have been extremely blessed by new friendships. When we risk with God, He takes care of us in every way. He covers every step and has gone before us even before we agree to saying yes. Thankful that Jesus has gone before me in this place and prepared this sweet friend to do life with. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The First Risk

I've decided to start a new blog. Rather than sending out a monthly newsletter, I thought it'd be easier/more fun to blog instead. It seems the trendy thing to do these days is blog, so I thought I'd join. However, let me warn you - the blogs I've attempted to keep up in the past haven't lasted long. In fact, my last blog only lasted 3 posts. Thus, creating this blog was a risk. A rather small one, but a risk none-the-less.

What is risk? That is after all, what this blog seems to be about thus far. According to the online dictionary, to risk means "to expose someone or something valued to danger, harm or loss." Another definition I found was "the danger or possibility of loss". Several things contribute to risk. The first is that the outcome is uncertain. The second is that exposure is inevitable. Oftentimes the scarier the risk, the more implications the risk has. Because we weren't created as islands - each person affects others - the outcome then leads to exposure or even consequences, positive and negative.

Life is full of risk. Over the past year I have been so challenged by men and women in scripture who chose to say yes to God no matter the cost. Jesus himself even modeled risk. He was willing to risk all and invest everything in you and me so that we could find new life. I have been radically changed by this truth and am learning to risk with God, who knows the ultimate outcome. My life is in the hands of the Creator, who works for my good and fulfills the desires of my heart. Oh, He is good!

My goal in creating this blog is to recount the faithfulness of God in my life and to reflect on His sweet mercies. Every time I say yes to God, I get to see His character even more. Risk truly does breed intimacy with God. I hope this blog encourages you and points you to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Although I can't predict how often I will post, I hope to write more soon.